When we left Dave Fortunatti and Luis the car salesman, we were relieved to find out Dave helped Luis save the deal.
Now, let’s rejoin them as they walk inside to handle the details.
Luis introduces Dave to Margie, the finance manager. They shake hands.
They walk to the finance office, where Margie offers Dave a cup of coffee (he declines, with a knowing twinkle in his eye and wry grin).
Then, Margie shows him several comparison charts and financing options. He listens patiently while she goes through all the different combinations of payment terms and interest rates.
Indeed, Dave respectfully and intently listens to the whole thing – not showing even a hint of impatience even though none of this applies to him – and as soon as she’s done, he pulls out his checkbook.
Dave asks, with a smile, “Who do I make this check out to?”
Well… Margie Freaks Out And Threatens To Call Security!
What? He’s paying with a check?!
Dave: “Calm down. It’s okay! The money is in my account right now. In fact, I’ll be happy to wait here while you go to the bank and deposit it.”
Margie: “I’m sure you can appreciate how suspicious that looks. Nobody pays for this car with a check!”
Dave: “I pay with a check. And (friendly grin), I’m not exactly ‘nobody’. Look, is your computer on the internet? Google me. Pull up my website. Check out my reviews. I think you’ll be satisfied I’m a legitimate businessman.”
Margie: “Sorry, I can’t do that. And I can’t take your check. Now, about these financing options we have here –”
Dave: “How about you call my bank? Tell them I’m in your office and I want to write a check for the car to drive home today. Ask for Phil. He’s my account manager.”
Margie: “Dave, with respect, I can’t-”
Dave: (standing up and extending his hand) “Well, I’m sorry we couldn’t do business. I’ll be on my way.”
Margie: “Okay… okay… hold on.”
Dave sits down, waiting to see what happens next.
Will he be driving home in a sleek, sporty convertible or not?
With An Audible Sigh, Margie Reluctantly Dials The Number For The Bank
“Hello, this is Margie from the dealership on 9th. Can I speak with Phil please? Great. (Pause.) Hello, Phil? Yes, this is Margie Timmerman here at the dealership on 9th. We have a gentleman who says he is your customer and wants to pay for an expensive sports car with a check. His name is Dave Fortunatti.
*muffled sound coming from phone receiver*
“Yes… yes… okay, I see. The amount? Yes, to pay upfront for the car will be $54,000.”
*louder muffled sound coming from phone receiver*
“I understand.” (bows head) “Yes, I’ll tell him. Thank you!”
Margie Hangs Up The Phone And Looks Dave In The Eye With Disbelief
Gathering her thoughts, Margie pauses.
Dave: “Well, what did he say?”
Margie: “Sir, my apologies for the delay. You can make the check out to Ninth Street Auto Sales, Inc. for $54,000. I’ll call to have them wash your new convertible and we’ll have you on your way in a few minutes. Thank you for your business!”
Margie: “Oh and Phil asked me to tell you he says hi and to let you know tee time is 6:50 and he’ll call you tonight.”
Dave: “Very good. I’m excited! Oh, if it’s okay with you and not too much trouble, I changed my mind about the coffee. When you get a chance, could you please get me a cup? Black with one Stevia is fine. Thanks!”
Wow, This Dealership Must Not Want To Sell Cars!
We can draw three very important lessons from Dave’s experience in the finance office:
- No two prospective customers are the same. The prospect you have now is not the prospect you had yesterday. Don’t judge one by the other.
- With the wealth of instant information online, you can look up pretty much anybody and discover unprecedented amounts of “avatar-type” information about them – usually additional hints you can use to build common ground and facilitate the sale.
- You really don’t know who you’re dealing with until you give them a chance to show you.
The sad irony here is that the dealership had a motivated, affluent buyer on their lot (one of the best kinds of buyers you could ever hope for).
Rather than take two minutes to get to know Dave a little and find that out, they putzed around applying generic formulas to him and assuming things about him based on their experiences with other shoppers.
Birds of a feather flock together – which means a couple of Dave’s motivated, affluent (and competitive) pals at the cigar shop or country club might see his sleek, sporty convertible and find themselves suddenly “afflicted” with the new-car bug as well.
What do you think will be the first, second, and third questions they’ll ask Dave?
Oh… and who else does Phil at the bank know?
He’s an account manager and seems to be pals with some of the top business leaders in town. Should Margie and Luis perhaps get to know Phil better, maybe invite him to stop by the dealership sometime?
What kind of birds do you want soaring into your nest?
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